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How To Tell Your Boss You Feel Undervalued at Work

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Whatever your job may be, feeling appreciated at work is important for having a sense of job satisfaction and overall day-to-day well-being. If you're feeling undervalued at work, it can interfere with your happiness as well as your job performance, so it's important to address these issues with your boss as they occur. Talking to your boss about your feelings can be a challenging task, one that requires tact, professionalism and forethought, but with proper care, you can ensure that your conversation has the best chance of returning positive results.

Spend some time processing your feelings before you communicate with your boss. Discuss the problems you've been having with someone close to you (preferably someone you don't work with) and try to think critically and objectively about the issues. Make a list of specific events that have made you feel undervalued at work and be prepared to discuss them in detail. Try to work through your negative emotions outside of work so that you can focus on solving the problem in a constructive manner.

Make an appointment to talk privately. If possible, ensure that even the process of making the appointment is private. Tell your boss that you have an issue you'd like to discuss and ask her when she has a few minutes to speak with you one-on-one.

Present the situation as primarily "your" problem. Make “I” statements and make it clear that you are talking about feelings and perceptions which you know to be subjective. Avoid accusing your boss or anyone else you work with of intentionally slighting or mistreating you. Discuss the individual incidents you outlined before and explain the ways in which these incidents made you feel. Avoid insulting or strongly emotional language as much as possible.

Highlight the effect your feelings are having on your work. Let your boss know that you want to get past this issue so that you can be more productive and be part of a more positive working environment for yourself and your colleagues. Discuss your problem in terms of how you believe employee and coworker appreciation is important for everyone in your workplace, not just you.

Show your boss that you want to be proactive about the situation. Give suggestions for ways in which you'd like to see things change and make it clear that you believe this problem can be solved. Let him know that you think the people involved have good intentions and that you expect everyone to be interested in fixing the problem.

Thank your boss. Let her know how much you appreciate her time and her consideration.

  • "Workplace Communications: The Basics;" George J. Searles; 2008

Lauren Vork has been a writer for 20 years, writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "The Lovelorn" online magazine and Vork holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from St. Olaf College.

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